Chris Smith, the brother of J.R. Smith, suffered an injury to his left patella tendon and will be out three to six months following his surgery. He had signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Knicks.
With Iman Shumpert and Ronnie Brewer recovering from knee surgery, Chris Smith had an opportunity to earn one of the Knicks’ remaining two-guaranteed roster spots with J.R. Smith being the only healthy shooting guard, but the injury ends any chance he had of making the team.
“It’s tough because everybody wants to play,” Chris Smith said. “Nobody wants to sit out, especially for me because I haven’t missed a practice throughout my whole college career. It’s just heartbreaking really.”
Chris Copeland, Chris Smith and Mychel Thompson were the only three players from the Knicks’ Las Vegas summer league team to earn an invitation to Knicks’ training camp without a guaranteed contract. Copeland led the team with 13.8 points per game while Chris Smith averaged 5.2 points and two rebounds.
“I learned how to use the pick-and-roll and to be actually humble,” Chris Smith said. “That’s a big process in this league. I found that out pretty early.”
Chris Smith could be a candidate for the Knicks’ Development League affiliate when he recovers from the injury. He wants to play for the Knicks and also play with his brother.
At 24 years old, Chris Smith could still have a bright future in the NBA following his college performance at Louisville where he helped lead the team to Final Four and win the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. He averaged 9.2 points and 3.6 rebounds last season with the Cardinals.
Thompson, who averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds has seen the most time with the first team unit in practice and could land one of the remaining two guaranteed roster spots while the Knicks wait for Shumpert and Brewer to return.